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Iraq: A Failed State

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    We re paying the mujahideen not to shoot at us 03/06/2004 In Fallujah, the most restive city in the Sunni Triangle of Iraq, anti-American feeling is
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2004
      'We're paying the mujahideen not to shoot at us'

      In Fallujah, the most restive city in the Sunni Triangle of Iraq,
      anti-American feeling is white-hot. Jack Fairweather is smuggled
      inside the city that is a no-go area for Westerners

      Wearing an American-supplied uniform and armed with a battered AK47
      rifle, Abdullah lounged at the checkpoint on the outskirts of

      A month ago he probably had his face masked by an Arab headscarf, and
      was launching attacks against US marines. Now, as a member of the US-
      sponsored Fallujah Brigade, he controls access to the city.

      Such is the strange nature of the peace that has seen the Iraqi
      resistance take command of Fallujah, the most restive city in the
      Sunni Triangle of Iraq, where anti-American feeling is white-hot.

      US marines pulled out last month and an Iraqi security force hastily
      formed from Saddam Hussein's old army moved in. The fighting was over
      as abruptly as it had begun, with US commanders lauding the peace

      "It's an Iraqi solution to an Iraqi problem," said a marine general
      optimistically. Fallujah has since become a model for dealing with
      the Shia uprising in the south.

      But few on the ground share such optimism. There may be peace, but
      officers say Fallujah has simply been handed over to the insurgents.

      A US officer said: "All we've succeeded in doing is paying off the
      mujahideen to stop shooting at us. There's a cauldron of hate out
      there and its going to boil over."

      The town is currently a no-go area for US troops, and by extension,
      any westerner. Despite lucrative rebuilding contracts, none has
      entered the city since four contractors were killed and their bodies
      mutilated in March, prompting the American incursion.

      I was driven into Fallujah with black curtains drawn around the rear
      seat of the car, the only way for a foreigner to enter. As soon as we
      passed the final US-supervised checkpoint a few miles from town
      centre I hid my face.

      My escort, a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, which negotiated the
      peace deal with the marines, warned me that he would not be able to
      guarantee my safety if I set foot outside the car.

      The reason for such caution was obvious. Brown-shirted members of the
      Fallujah Brigade, most of them former resistance fighters, manned
      checkpoints across the city. The few residents who agreed to talk
      were hastily smuggled into the back of the car.

      "Welcome to the free republic of Fallujah," said one resident, who
      would not give his name. "We run this city now and no American will
      ever enter here again."

      A look of horror passed over the face of another man when he saw a
      westerner in the back of the car. "What are you doing here? I will be
      killed if I am seen with you. You must leave. Get out!" he said.

      Many American military officials now privately accept that going into
      Fallujah was a mistake. Seventy marines and an estimated 800 Iraqis
      were killed in six weeks of clashes. The fighting inspired the Shia
      uprising in the south.

      But officials also say that leaving the insurgents unbeaten may prove
      a greater problem.

      "It's difficult to understand what's been achieved in Fallujah. We've
      got to start from scratch all over again," said a member of the civil
      and military affairs team outside the city.

      If the resistance has won a victory in Fallujah, it is one which few
      of its citizens rejoice in. Shops may be open and markets stuffed
      with fresh vegetables, but everywhere bears the scars of war.

      Demolished houses pockmark the streets, and the minaret of the main
      mosque, where snipers once hid, is riddled with bullets. Iraqi
      officials estimate that more than 2,000 homes were damaged in the

      Abdul Razzak is a civil engineer who has spent the past month
      assessing the war damage for compensation claims.

      So far he has a bill running into the multi-millions with thousands
      of claimants. The US military has agreed to hand out £650 million.



      Radical Iraqi Cleric Rejects Interim Government

      KUFA, Iraq (BGNES) - Rebel Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr rejected
      Iraq's new interim government on Friday but agreed to shore up a
      shaky truce with American forces after weeks of clashes.

      Sadr's men have fought fierce battles with U.S. troops in and around
      the holy city of Najaf, but the area was quiet for the first time in
      days on Friday after Shiite leaders helped broker a fresh truce

      A new interim government was appointed by the United Nations on
      Tuesday after consultation with the U.S.-led administration and Iraqi
      leaders, and is due to take over from U.S. occupiers on June 30.

      "I do not want to have anything to do with this government," said a
      statement issued by Sadr and read out by Sheikh Jader al-Khafaji at
      Friday prayers at a mosque in Kufa, near Najaf.

      "I don't believe any Iraqi would accept this appointment of a
      government by the occupier. There is no freedom or democracy without
      independence," he said, speaking to several thousand worshippers
      gathered at the mosque where Sadr normally preaches.

      "Which country has accepted the U.N. appointing its rulers except for
      Afghanistan and Iraq? Leave us to decide our fate as a unified
      people, not under submission to the occupier."

      Sadr also called for elections to determine the country's next
      government. Under current plans, polls planned for January will elect
      members of a transitional government that will draft a new
      constitution. More polls will then choose a constitutionally elected
      government, perhaps in early 2006.

      Shiite politicians said earlier on Friday that Sadr had agreed to
      withdraw his fighters from the city of Najaf within two days, as long
      as U.S. forces also withdrew.

      Sadr also proposed that neutral observers monitor the truce, the
      Shiite politicians said after hours of talks with the firebrand
      preacher in Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad.

      A truce attempt last week failed to take hold and there have been
      frequent skirmishes around Najaf.

      On Thursday afternoon, gunfire and explosions erupted in Najaf when
      two U.S. tanks advanced toward the cemetery, where some militia
      fighters are still dug in, witnesses said. There was an exchange of
      fire for around half an hour, and the tanks later withdrew.

      Iraq's top Shi'ite religious leaders have been highly critical of
      Sadr for fighting in holy cities -- but have also said the U.S.
      military response was heavy-handed. Washington is keen to secure a
      truce before the June 30 handover of power.

      Among those mediating has been Ahmad Chalabi, a wealthy former exile
      who has fallen out of favor with Washington.

      Once seen as the U.S. choice to lead Iraq, but lacking any clear
      electoral base, he has become sharply critical of U.S. policy and
      appears to be trying to establish himself as a leader of his fellow
      Shi'ites inside the country. /Reuters


      Four US soldiers die in attack:

      Four United States soldiers were killed and five wounded on Friday
      when a blast struck their convoy on the edge of the Shi'ite militia
      stronghold of Sadr City, the US military said.

      "Four soldiers were killed and five wounded in an explosion on their
      convoy in Baghdad at around 1.10pm [9.10am GMT]," a spokesperson
      said, adding that the nature of the device was under investigation.

      Witnesses earlier told an AFP correspondent on the scene that the
      convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade before a roadside bomb
      was detonated.

      A 21-year-old Iraqi was seriously wounded by the blast, his father
      said. Witnesses said a cameraman was also injured when US troops
      opened fire to keep bystanders away.

      The attack followed overnight clashes in Sadr City between US troops
      and militiamen loyal to radical cleric Moqatada al-Sadr. -- Sapa-AFP


      Delusion on a psychotic scale:

      In the face of all the evidence, the Iraq Survey Group is still
      searching for WMD.


      The price of failure in Iraq:

      The US Iraqi enterprise was meant to transform the entire Middle East
      to the benefit of the Americans. Ironically, it is the US failure now
      that threatens to spread elsewhere

      Fund For Peace Study Concludes that
      Iraq Has Descended Into a Failed State Syndrome:

      6/3/2004 11:26:00 AM

      Contact: Pauline H. Baker of the Fund For Peace, 202-223-7946 or

      WASHINGTON, June 3 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A report released today by The
      Fund for Peace (FfP) concludes that instead of addressing the
      fundamental requirements of rebuilding the state, post-war policies
      undertaken by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)
      focused primarily on completing the process of regime change.
      Consequently, Iraq has deteriorated further into a failed state

      Dr. Pauline H. Baker, author of the report, describes a failed state
      syndrome as a condition in which a number of trends reinforce each
      other to produce spiraling conflict that the country has little or no
      independent capacity to stop. The report concludes that, a year after
      the invasion, Iraq is as shattered as it was the day that Saddam
      Hussein was overthrown, the main difference being that organized
      militias and terrorist groups have gained a foothold they did not
      have before.

      "We have to get the facts straight before we can get the policy
      straight," said Dr. Baker. "Currently, there are three major fictions
      that are being used to describe the transition in Iraq. The first is
      analytical - that Iraq could become a failed state, when, in fact, it
      already has failed. The second is legal - that the occupation will
      end on June 30, when, in fact, the occupation will end when foreign
      troops are withdrawn and capable Iraqi security forces take over. And
      the third is political - that after June 30, the sovereign government
      of Iraq and the people will be allied with the United States. In
      fact, the interim government will not have full sovereignty and the
      people are increasingly fearful and resentful of the U.S. presence."

      The study, which was done with the Fund's conflict assessment
      methodology, is updated every six months to evaluate progress toward
      sustainable security. This is the second in the series.

      The report maps out five future scenarios. It states that, if current
      trends continue, Iraq is likely headed toward a Lebanon- like
      outcome, with civil war and possible intervention by neighboring
      states. To avoid this or other undesirable outcomes, the U.S. must
      work more closely with the U.N. to build a wider international
      coalition prepared to provide two years of peacekeeping forces and
      five to ten years of economic support in a long-term plan aimed at
      sustainable security. Currently, no planning is being done beyond the
      next election and other nations are reluctant to provide troops for
      U.N. peacekeeping, even over the next six months leading to
      elections. That will be a critical make-or-break period, when the
      tipping point will occur, determining whether Iraq will move toward
      constitutionalism or chaos.

      Dr. Baker urged policy-makers to separate truth from fiction. She
      warned that, "fictional accounts have led to false assumptions,
      misplaced expectations and misguided policies in the past. They will
      do so in the future, if we are not careful."


      The report was released at an "Afternoon Newsmaker" held Wednesday,
      June 2, 2004, 3 to 4 p.m., at the National Press Club, 529 14th
      Street NW, DC. Pauline H. Baker, author of the report, presented. The
      report can be found at The Fund for Peace website:

      Dr. Baker's bio can be found at
      http://www.fundforpeace.org/thefund/president.php. The Fund For Peace
      is a Washington-based non-profit organization whose mission is to
      prevent war and alleviate the conditions that cause war. It promotes
      education and research for practical solutions and is a consistent
      advocate of promoting social justice and respect for the principles
      of constitutional democracy. For more information, please visit:



      New Plan Would Let Iraq Order Troops Out :

      The United States and Britain revised their Security Council
      resolution on transferring sovereignty to Iraq (news - web sites) on
      Friday, giving the country's new interim government authority to
      order the U.S.-led multinational force to leave at any time


      Transfer of power in Iraq is no more than a cynical exercise in
      public relations

      "The nature of the power structures being established in Iraq leaves
      no doubt that what the US is building is the equivalent of the sort
      of "indirect empire" that the British built in much of India and in
      other parts of the world. Then, the British officially had "treaties"
      with sovereign Indian rulers, and maintained the pretence that the
      Indian rulers were the real rulers, with British officers there as
      diplomatic representatives or advisors."



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